Sunak vows to put UK on ‘crisis footing’ if elected PM, calls himself an underdog


LONDON: Rishi Sunak has unleashed an intense campaign spree this weekend in his mission to win Conservative Party votes to be elected their leader and on Saturday pledged to put the UK on a “crisis footing” if elected PM.
The 42-year-old former chancellor told The Times newspaper that a business-as-usual approach would not work in the face of the serious economic challenges facing the country. “Having been inside government I think the system just isn’t working as well as it should. And the challenges that I’m talking about, they’re not abstract, they’re not things that are coming long down the track,” he told the paper.
“They’re challenges that are staring us in the face and a business-as-usual mentality isn’t going to cut it in dealing with them. So, from day one of being in office I’m going to put us on a crisis footing,” he said.
In a speech in the central town of Grantham, the birthplace of former PM Margaret Thatcher — the former Tory leader both Sunak and opponent Liz Truss are pitching as their role model to woo traditional voters — the Indian-origin politician described himself as the underdog in the contest to become Britain’s next PM.
“Be in no doubt, I am the underdog,” Sunak said. Taking aim at members of the Conservative Party that favour Truss, he said: “The forces that be want this to be a coronation for the other candidate, but I think members want a choice and they are prepared to listen.”
The ex-minister did not elaborate on who these “forces” actually were, but reiterated that he was not the favourite. “I was talking generically, but obviously I start this part of the contest in the underdog position,” he told reporters afterwards.
In his speech, Sunak laid out what he called “common sense Thatcherism”, promising careful management of the economy before tax cuts.
He questioned the morality of immediate tax cuts, proposed by Truss, at a time of soaring inflation and criticised as arbitrary her pledge to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030. Truss says tax cuts are needed to stimulate growth. He also said his focus will be on delivering better value for money for the taxpayer-funded National Health Service (NHS).





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